Friday, August 19, 2011
The association between depression and chronic illness and depression persists across the lifetime - the strongest connection is with painful conditions. A graduate student at the University of Calgary has examined this issue in elderly persons, the age category where chronic conditions are most common. Her results indicated that these associations are strong and important in elderly members of the general population - here is a media summary of her report.
Depression dramatically increases the risk of suicide, although many suicides occur in non-depressed persons. Schizophrenia and substance-use disorders are also associated with dramatically elevated risk. Canadians were recently reminded of these realities with the suicide of a professional hockey player that had long struggled with depression. Toronto Star link here.
One of the things that creates a barrier between depressed people and treatment is stigma. Reducing stigma is one of the priorities of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. They have a lot of information about this issue on their website, which can be accessed here.